123: The Black Dahlia
Back in black I'm Jason Horton I'm Rebecca Lieb, and this is a ghost town. I. Have wanted to do this case for a very long time, but it is such a part of my own Ellie history and is so intimidating in some ways because it's so gigantic that I kind of leaned away from it but Jason just went to a bunch of locations and was kind of hinting at the idea that maybe we should do it. So here, we are today talking about the iconic La, still unsolved crime of the Black Dahlia murder. This is is the one. This is the big big one. It's La's probably oldest unsolved. Cold case and probably when you talk about true crime I mean this is probably up there. With, all with all the big ones it really is, and again, there's so much to it. It's not even just that it's an unsolved because really on paper, it's like L. A. Girls Young a young woman is murdered and we can't find the killer and it's La and it could be anybody but there's so many strange nooks and crannies to this case. There's so much Hollywood to it with like baked inside of it. You know there's like youth and beauty and ambition, but really the big thing about this case is that it is a the side. It's like the face of Los Angeles and I think that's why people are so obsessed with it. It's very stereotypical to me like you know this city takes people and choose them up and spits them out or. It rejects them. This is the case that a lot of that was foundational to. It is the darker part of the dream of entertainment of stardom of Glamour. It really manipulates that and this is what CR- I mean really creates the. Like the the bad. Reputation that Elliott has in terms of. What you will do to be famous. You know all the things like what you will put yourself out there for and so much of that has taken over the idea of the Black Dahlia murder when in actuality, the facts are much different and and the person who is Elizabeth Short is still a mystery. So all of this. presupposition can be put on this case in a way that will never really know. What was wrong and apparently people are not. Done. Talking about now socio with it and like you said, it's Hollywood itself now. Will make a movie or another book or there's another blog post and it probably will never truly be solved although there are claims that. Solve for the most part it is solved, but we won't get the closure of a formalized solution to this case source are solving of her murder was the the the. The photos considering it's one, thousand, nine, hundred, forty, seven. The amount of photos is pretty astounding which I've noticed when I was doing the filming locations and when you run across the crime scene photos, it's extremely jarring. No matter how many times you've seen it it's extremely gruesome. Yeah, and I it's it's tough especially when I until the Mayor Park and was looking for photos com. Comparing the what it looks like now to then and yeah, you get a lot of crime scene photos. They are very available on the Internet. So if you're looking for this case like I maybe three or four clicks, you can find these very graphic photos. So I'm warning you of that and it also really hard too because they will those we will juxtapose her and her mugshot. Also like a really big part of the photographic evidence and historical elements of the case. But let's start from the beginning because even before her murder it's there's so much happening. So she was born Elizabeth Short on July Twenty Ninth Nineteen Twenty Four in Boston Massachusetts. The third of five daughters of CLEO and Phoebe may short cleo short made a living designing and building miniature golf courses around nineteen. Twenty seven the short family relocated to Portland and then went back to Massachusetts to Boston suburb everybody year later, of course, the Great Depression hit in nineteen, twenty, nine and Cleo. Abandoned his wife and his five daughters. He then proceeded to fake his suicide leaving his empty car near a bridge leading authorities to believe he jumped into the river below. This will also happen again, this is CLEO's move. phoebe was left to deal with the depression five young girls on her own. She worked multiple jobs. But most of their money came from public assistance one day Phoebe received a letter from clear who moved to California he apologized and told me that he wanted to come home to her however she was like do not ever talk to me again I never wanNA. See you in one, thousand, nine, hundred, eighty, CLEO's car was found abandoned on the Charlestown bridge and it was assumed he committed suicide by jumping into the river. Again as a teenager Elizabeth always had bad bronchitis and severe asthma attacks. She underwent lung surgery at eight fifteen after which doctor suggested she relocate to a milder climate during the winter months to prevent further problems. Shorts Mothers Center to spend winters Miami Florida with some family friends during the next three years short lived in Florida during the winter months and spent the rest of the year in Medford with her mother and sisters. Now, she would go back and forth from Florida to Massachusetts to California it kind of all. To start the she, she laid the foundation of being kind of this wandering character feeling at home pretty much anywhere. Maybe a little bit too at home as some authors talk about, but she would do these things and again it kind of. All of the people that talk about her say that she was kind of quiet that she would spend a lot of time on her makeup in herself and would try her best to assimilate to wherever she was. So here's some testimonials from her Medford classmates. She was always friendly never at a loss for words and it wasn't just that she was. So pretty there are a lot of pretty girls. There was something different. She was someone you like to watch the kind of girls boys might sneak looks at, but we get tongue tied if she spoke to you and the walk of hers, it wasn't put on. She always walked that way even in junior high i. Always thought that if she had a glass of water in her head, she wouldn't spill a drop that was Bob Passos a neighbor and classmate of hers Daddy Elizabeth's Sister Betty I we're going to be movie stars. We were all entranced with movie stars starstruck spent hours talking about movie stars about going to Hollywood. We performed using the shorts front porch a stage. Every Friday assumes the song sheets came out. We Pool our money, get the latest sheets and spend hours singing betty imitated deanna. Durbin, walked like her talk like her and had is and sang liquor. That's eleanor Kurt's a friend of the family's, and then finally this is Emma Pass IOS another presumably related to Bob. Her hair was very dark black. She liked to be admired. no-one had bad thoughts about her I just liked her once he saw betty shore. You couldn't forget her Eliza the short dropped out of high school as a sophomore which means there were a couple of years that she didn't go to school. I'm not. I can't figure out what she did. In that time presumably, she was in pretty bad health and just kind of floating around at her mom's plays at our friends in Florida. But in late nineteen, forty, two shorts mother received a letter of apology from her twice presumed dead husband which revealed that he was in fact alive and started a new life in California for real for real this time. In December at age eighteen short relocated to va hospital with her father whom she had not seen since she was six years old at the time he was working at the nearby Mare island naval shipyard on San Francisco Bay but things quickly became strained her father would scold her for her laziness her poor housekeeping her dating habits, which would also be a theme in a much discussed area of her her life. He eventually kicked her out in mid nineteen, forty three and she was forced to fend for herself. She took a job a cashier at the. Base Exchange at Camp Cooke now Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc living with several friends and briefly dating an army sergeant who she moved in with who reportedly abused her the servicemen quickly noticed her and she won the title of Camp Cutie of Camp Cooke in a beauty contest. She was emotionally vulnerable and at the time people say that she really wanted to get married again, she was nineteen years old pretty normal kind of average sentiment for a person that age at the time and her track record of instability, all the authors that I really looked into. said that she wanted a normal life you know a home person, a partner that she could trust and she was desperate to have that. But she was not a very good kind of reader of people should a lot of really strained relationships really started ramping up about this time word spread that Elizabeth was not an easy girl on the base which. Kept, her at home instead of on dates most nights in nineteen forty-three she became uncomfortable at Camp Cooke and left to stay with another friend who lived near Santa Barbara She was arrested on September twenty third, Nineteen Forty Three for underage drinking at a local bar. This is the iconic Mugshot of hers which there's two photos next to each other she looks. Kind of buzzed on she looks like a teenager who is buzzed. And this is something that juxtaposed her the photos from her the crime scene, her the site where her body was found all the time, which is very, very disturbing because in the photo she looks. Like a kid like a kid who's out partying you know and she you know she's very made up. She's got. She's got these like really dark curls really light skinned. She looks like she got in trouble like many teenagers do the juvenile authorities sent her back to Medford, but she instead went to Florida then came back to California this time to where she really wanted to be in Hollywood in Los Angeles Elizabeth Meta Pilot Name Lieutenant Gordon Fickling, and fell in love. He was really clean cut. She was stable kind of the guy that she was searching for and she was very eager to marry him but her plans were halted when fickling was shipped out to. Europe. So she was again alone she took some modeling jobs in La but not really anything came of it. She went back East again to spend holidays in Medford before again, going to Miami, she began dating servicemen marriage still a huge part of what she wanted and what she hoped she would get and fell in love with. Military man a pilot this time his name was Major Matt Gordon he she really has a type two. If you look at the people that she dated or she's photograph with really pretty like handsome clean cut very military skewing guys it may just be just the places that she hung out which is basis for the most part but he looks a lot like, Gordon, fickling honestly he proposed marriage and she said, yes, they were going to get married when he got back from India however, he was killed in action on August tenth nineteen, forty, five less than a week before the surrender of Japan. That ended that would end the war. Elizabeth had a period of mourning where she told others that actually he had been her husband and that they had a baby that died in childbirth. But eventually, she began to recover and attempted to return to her old life and hurled streams of being a star in Hollywood. So she started contacting your friends back in California. One of these friends was her escorting fickling who was back in the states she began to write him and soon they were on again some say she back to Hollywood before she met up with him in Long Beach where he was working but it may have been the other way round. I couldn't actually find a definitive answer for this. But in late nineteen, forty six, she was seen working living in Hollywood known to frequent the frolic room board Nur's old Hollywood haunt. These are places that are really historic on. Hollywood boulevard. No are writers would hang out there. A lot of Hollywood actor online dating has happened there Yeah. I had a frolic room day I also had a program date. It's yeah. It's a place that we both we both used to hang out in and performance you the Frolic Room in my book Los Angeles it'd be on. So there's a connection, but it's when you look at it. It's it's one of those. Places. Borders a little less even though to us but the frolic room is definitely definitely used in movies about lay new art based. Yeah and murders have happened at both places just so much history to them. When you talk about Hollywood having history, this case is so much part of it these places and it all kind of snowballs into this. Pretty. Dark Hollywood lore. Now again, it's not this is a part of her story where it's like Schwartz you partier was she thought she was seen out and about but kind of was she. It's hard. No you're taking a lot of this stuff from testimony from authors who already are having secondhand accounts and then when I'm getting the accounts you know. Who knows again who knows? So it's it's her case, and this is really piecing together a lot of different stories a lot of different points of view a lot of different agendas because a lot of people have agendas with this case because they want it to be something that maybe it's it's not but I'm gonNA present as we go along all the different hypotheses and you can kind of decide for yourself. So she was working as a waitress and they said that she rented a room behind the Florentine Gardens on Hollywood boulevard near that is I do. I, was there recently, there was a holding area for thing, I was working on nine Florentine Gardens totally. It is still right yeah. As it just like a space for rent kind of thing is a big parking lot behind it. So I don't know. Yeah. I don't know if the building that was back there is still back there but flirting gardens is still there Yeah. You can see so many places where she was lived was found and that's another really interesting part of this case it's still lives in these places they're not gone you can experience it. So she agreed to join fickling in Long Beach permanently at some point. But this is when things this is even more like the patchwork nature of this case, she didn't go to Long Beach instead she left Los Angeles on December Eighth Nineteen forty-six take a bus to San Diego before she left. She had been worried about some things on her mind marquette who harbored Elizabeth for a little bit said, I didn't see her but she was sitting there one night when I came home with an about five thirty sitting and crying and saying she. Had to get out of there. She was crying about being scared one thing and another no. So she was pretty distressed at this point and went to San Diego while she was there she befriended a young woman named. Dorothy Franch Dorothy was accountable at the Aztec Theater when they first met and had found. Elizabeth Sleeping one of the seats after a show in one of her bouts of homelessness between homes who knows seem to be a bit of a drifter from what I what I saw pretty much with the with the timeline and chronology. Is of where she was seemed to that kind of her jammed she was settled. You know settled wouldn't be a word that would use to describe her honestly like any point in her life for sure Elizabeth told Dorothy that she left Hollywood because finding a job as an actress was difficult with the strikes that were going on at the time Dorothy felt sorry for her and offered her a place to stay at her mother's home for a few days. These few days turned into a month and this is the part of John. Gilmore's book. Severed which has some some of the information I got from this episode came from that but it's also really sensationalized. But this one moment that really stood out for me because she would stay there she was clearly overstaying her welcome but it was a couch that she could live on but he talks about her getting up and spending hours in front of a mirror applying her makeup and her doing her hair and doing you know finding these meticulous outfits and making sure that everything was perfect and just so much makeup and so much kind of. Beautification. Or changing herself into what she perceived of what people wanted of her and even like the smell of her perfume and there's a couple of quotes in the book to talk about just the living room reeking of her perfume in her why she wasn't even in Los Angeles at the time she was in San Diego staying in France couch and it. Really shows what perhaps matter. This book is very problematic too because it is very sensationalized and the theories in this book are not right I'll say they've been disputed quite a bit and I would trust but it is such a colorful recounting of her life that it's entertaining. I'll say there are some other books that are that are much more grounded but that Of this book really stands out to me as being true from what I've read from what researched of who she was. So she obviously didn't contribute much to the family and apparently continued with late night partying dating, and again it's hard to know of this was real or if this wasn't real I, think from the research that I've done she a big thing. About. Her was belonging and being out and being immersed in Hollywood in the world and she loved people. But she never really felt like she was a part of it. She never really felt like an insider or had a group of friends. So I think that was part of it. I don't think she was a huge like partier we don't really get any. Recounts of her being belligerent or you know aside from like drinking like super drunk or having any problems there's lots and lots of testimonies of people who grew up around and knew her. Not so much in these later years that are super trustworthy I would say, but before saying that she was like fairly strait laced but think about putting a straight laced person into this context someone who's considered very attractive who wanted to be in? Hollywood. Of course, she would be going out. Of course, you'd be meeting friends she was. Twenty one. So that really sticks with the end again, her being not maybe the best judge of character baby being a little bit naive a little bit too trusting because one man she met in San Diego was the man by the name of Robert Red. Manley a twenty five year old salesman from La who had a pregnant wife back at home. He admitted in testimony that he was attracted to Elizabeth. But he said that he never ever slept with her he said the two of them site other on and off for a couple of weeks, and then she asked him for a ride. Back to Hollywood he agreed and picked her up from the French household on January eighth nineteen, forty seven he paid for her otell room for the night and went to a party with her then the two of them returned to the hotel he said he slept on the bed and she slept in a chair. Sure. Okay. Manley had an appointment in the morning of January ninth and returned to the hotel to Pick Elizabeth noon. She told him that she was returning to Massachusetts but I needed to according to her meet her married sister at the Biltmore Hotel in Hollywood, which is interesting biltmore. Is Not. In Hollywood. It's actually in downtown Los Angeles. She said her sister was visiting from Boston, which was a lie Manley gave her a ride to the hotel and and drove off immediately after he didn't see that she met her sister again, this his testimony he didn't stop and wait for anything. So he says that when he saw her last, she was making phone calls in the hotel lobby manly and hotel employees were the last people presumably to see Elizabeth Short alive though some accounts she was seen maybe by patrons at the Crown Grill Cocktail Lounge at seven fifty, four south, olive? Street, which is almost across the street from the hotel, and that's not there anymore unfortunately but I also don't think that that is true again, I don't think she would go if she was this distressed if she was Kinda had this agenda that we didn't know about I don't think she would go to a place that she didn't know anybody alone, which was not really her jam and hang out and have a drink. It doesn't seem right. She was missing for six days from the Biltmore hotel before her body was found in a vacant lot on the morning of January Fifteenth Nineteen forty. Seven. And just before we get into that, you can go to the biltmore and stand exactly where she was last seen and it is so interesting of generally tours. Yeah. Yeah it's a it's a beautiful hotel. It's such a symbol of Los Angeles there's so much history there aside from this can go to the entry way and I made it can put a picture up on our instagram and be there and it's again it's talk about being tied to a city being tied to this unsolved case it's really it's a trip I will say so she was missing her body was found on January fifteenth nineteen, forty seven on a cold overcast morning in Los? Angeles Betty Bersinger who was a local housewife left her home Norton Avenue in Lamar Park, which is if you don't, it's kind of by USC it's still pretty suburban it's not super developed. It's. Is it south central? Technically maybe it is technically I think it'll tranquilly south central I was there we were just there. Yeah. It was just there and you could see that in other places that I went at youtubecom Celeste Jason Horton or clean link in the show notes you can see all of that. Yeah, and it is it's it's very it's an ominous place because if you look at the pictures which I do not suggest, they're just vacant lots. So she left her home. She was going to a shoe repair shop with her three year old daughter around ten. Am Betty was walking along the sidewalk and she noticed something white in the grass. She didn't think much of at first and this is like a very famous quote of hers because she got a ton of press there so much in I mean she doesn't have a lot of INFO. She just found this body. But she thought that someone had thrown away pieces of a store mannequin which. is also really ear. You see the photos you know what that means. Yeah. It's not nothing when you will. I highly suggest doing that with extreme caution because I did I just happened upon them again and it was it was I i. mean I am also very skittish and easily. Jarred. Yeah and they are they're jarring and they look other-worldly. The black and white aspect of them. It's it's. I imagine a lot of harm movies especially in the sixties and seventies or you're in the fifties. Might have gotten a Inspired by these photos unfortunately. Yeah. Ooh, so she discovered these pieces of human being. Screamed grabbed her daughter ran to the nearest house to call the police. Within minutes officers arrived the first officers who discu discover the body from the police were Frank Perkins and will Fitzgerald's When they saw her they confirmed Betty Bersinger story and called for backup. The Los Angeles police. Department. Noted that the woman's body seemed to have been posed. She was on her back with arms raised over her shoulders. There were cuts and abrasions across her body. Her mouth had been sliced to extend your smile from ear to ear. It's known as the Glasgow. Smile which is a very violent practice that originated joker would be a classic modern version of that odelay totally and to see that in. A someone WHO's not the joke to see that in just a face is really horrifying. The bottom half of her body was a foot away from the top half her legs were spread. They were lacerations around her abdomen. Her intestines were tucked neatly, which is horrifying detail under her body. Investigators believed she had been tied down and tortured for several days due to wrote marks and harassed ankles neck. This is pretty disputed. She was tortured. A lot of the stuff really happened post-humously so. It's really probably not super likely, but this is again something that people are like how much how much of the torture happened before she died how much APP happened after I I tend to think that like most and hopefully I hope that most of it happened after and there's no blood no blood. Yeah after there was no absolutely no blood and this is a huge detail of the case because the artful nature, there's no blood in her body. There was no blood under her body. The detectives saw print on the ground amid tire tracks. Hardin of this is connected to the case or not, and a cement sack containing watery blood. Also kind of nearby they determined that she was killed elsewhere bled out meticulously and then put in the vacant lot at some point the night before detective Lieutenant Jesse Haskins described the condition of the body. When he first arrived at the crime scene, the body was lying with head towards the north the feet towards the south. The left leg was five inches west of the sidewalk. The body was lying face up and the several part was jogged. Over about ten inches, the upper half of the body from the lower half. There was tire track right up against the curbing, and there was what appeared to be a possible bloody. He'll mark in the tire mark on the curbing, which is now very low that was one spot of blood and there was an empty paper cement sack in the driveway, and it also had a spot of blood on it. It had been brought here from some other location the body was clean it appeared to have been washed, but again, like clinical description. Horrifying in reality while the LAPD were no stranger to homicides, the nature of this case was very cruel and talked about again all over, which is something that has helped and hurt the case over the years detective. Sergeant Henry Hansen at Detective Finis Brown were assigned to the case and when they arrived at the crime scene, it was teaming with reporters, photographers, onlookers, of course, in Classic High, profile true crime style civilians and officers were just trumping all around the crime scene destroying evidence or possible evidence left and right while the detectives investigated. The crime scene. The body was transported to Los. Angeles County morgue the LAPD. Lifted fingerprints and send them to FBI headquarters in Washington D. C hover severe winter storms at the time have delayed the identification requests for up to a week. So think about sending physically sending copies of fingerprints to Washington. DC. Then being delayed, this high profile case nobody knows who this person is and they can't figure it out because storms worden woolard, who is the assistant managing editor of the Herald Express wanted to help the LAPD and their investigation and probably. Wanted a little like firsthand news coverage for himself. The newspaper had recently purchased a new technology called the sound photo machine. He wooller believed he could use the sound photo equipment to send the women's fingerprints to the FBI, which is again, it's like an early like. Dial Up Internet type of thing when Willard spoke with the LAPD Captain Jack Donohoe but his idea it was set into motion the fingerprints were first transmitted to the FBI but they could not be read. Lapa Herald Express photographer suggested that they reversed lab process and use the prince as negatives before sending them to the again. Lap. Also blue the prince up to eight and a half to eight by ten, which made them large enough for the FBI specialist clearly read with these readable prince. The FBI finally was able to identify this body that was found that everyone is in a frenzy about as twenty two year old Elizabeth Short as far as they knew, she had last resided in Santa Barbara and had worked. As a clerk at Camp Cooke that always happening shorts body was being examined in the coroner's office by Frederick, new bar the La County coroner his autopsy report stated that Short was five feet five inches tall weighed one, hundred, fifteen pounds had light blue eyes brown hair badly decaying teeth. The body had been cut completely in half by technique taught in the nineteen thirties called it hammock corporate demy. I hope I set the rain. His report noted very little bruising along the incision line suggesting it had been performed after her death. There were marks on her ankles, wrists and neck and irregular laceration with superficial tissue loss her right breast. Bar also noted superficial lacerations on the right forum left upper arm lower side of the chest. All over face to head, there was no sperm present on the body. The killer had washed the body. So clean there really wasn't anything on the body. Newborn noted that shorts anal canal was dilated suggesting that maybe she was raped that's really the only evidence of sexual misconduct. There's some reports that say she'd like feces in her stomach and stuff like that. That is not true. Is I have researched? There was numerous cuts in a criss cross pattern over her pubic hair. Her hair had been removed. Her pubic hair had been removed by hand, which is a very gruesome detail. Again, most of the damage done seem to have been postmortem. Thank God, the official cause of death was hammered and shock due to concussion of the brain lacerations of the face. So on that note, I think we should chill out a second, take a break and get back to it after support for this podcast comes from state farm here with good news and even better news. The good news state farm has new lower car insurance rates. The even better news that means you can now get the service and convenience of a local state farm. Agent at surprisingly great rates State Farm can help you save more cash and get the good neighbor service. You deserve just talk to your local state farm agent or visit State Farm Dot com to find out how much you can save on your car insurance when you want the real deal like a good neighbor state farm is there hi hello how are you? Hi again. Despite all that, how're you doing? We're doing it. How's everybody? We hope you are well yeah I hope. So I had a gas leak in my home this week and so I hope I'm well as well wolf we'll find out we're. Going to find out what we'll see by the end of this episode of you. In the heap will full figured out want to say hello to our patrons. Our political leaders Ginette Lanc Hello Brandon Gaddis Ben. Foresight. Ashley Madison. Or Governor still governor still governor yet to be unseated. Chris Witt Hello Chris Hello we're fans of yours. We WanNa, say hello to anyone who's patronizing patrons in anyone listening. Thank you. Thank you. We have bonus episodes just put up a bonus episode I actually put up by the time. You hear this already be outbreak put up a little bonus of the video component shoe this very exciting thrown that in there, but we have you know. Probably you may have listened to this already without any ads or any of this talking and that's part of the Patriot, which is Patriot dot com slash ghost town pod I was on a podcast called. Hear me out fun talking about trying to convince one of the one of the hosts to stay in a haunted house or haunted hotel. Did you convince him I think it had a pretty good job yeah. But yeah so it's weird. It's funny having you convince someone to stay in a haunted house I. I was giving some pretty like. Selfish. One content Heller. Sure. Conversation. You know you're running out of stuff. That's right. Great Way to converse, and I just kind of explain why the haunted hotel would be a great place people go to hotels sometimes for dastardly reasons or to you don't want to bother people when you WanNa do something unfortunate. Don't want to have someone else clean up your mess. I mean, you gotta hotels I like to someone else clean up after yeah. Not me I go there to read the Bible and get a good night's sleep. Yeah, and that is it. That's it. Funny. Business I get a salad dressing. Inside please but the podcast hear me out check it out. A lot of people have been very supportive of the book which I went to Barnes and noble today I saw that it's in the store. That's. That must be so amazing to see. It was really weird because I always imagine what it would be like number one to have a book there. There's so many I didn't get the opportunity because one I was like I don't know if it's been people have trouble getting it hopefully, it's been picking up people have been getting it and. To see it. There is a really strange thing local interest local interest that makes sense makes sense to me and it's right. There was some pictures it's on Instagram, which is the Jason Horton if you WANNA, check out the video component where a visit some of the locations of the Black Dahlia youtubecom slash Jason Horton her could find it in the show notes link. Yeah. Don't you want like three sixty view of this case maybe not but if you do yeah or do you want to. Devers. And Nice to dea flattened version that you can take in at will. I'm not. You can give it a thumbs up and subscribe if you'd like me. Cool. Are Tiktok. It is going off. I. Was back at the Wonderland. God. We're GONNA have a little Sharon tate Boy already have hillside strangler. Halloween we're going to start doing these episodes ads. It's. A lot of that I have coming up next we're bugsy Siegel Yeah Yeah since house. ooh Beverly Hills where the SPINAS Patina which house there was over there in beverly. Hills. That's all on your I. Think some of my instagram probably some of the ghost town pot instagram by the tick tock goes down pod people. So a lot of in fighting a little bit a little bit of that in there but it's it's it's you know it's rocking and rolling. That's amazing in the you know when I say it's rocking and rolling. You know it's pretty standard. Standard Oh. No. That's true. I mean to your credit man like Tiktok is totally different animal and things you get on there versus here or Youtube instagram totally different different experience. It's it's well why don't we get back to the Black Dahlia the person that you're here to listen about except we've we've there's there's the other side of this, which is the Also the theories and and people kind of not agreeing on. Seventy years old now at this point. Yeah and you know we're still talking about it and we're still talking about Oh one has agreed anything no, and again I think there is a case I think there is a kind of decided and to this case or a settling on who likely did it but there are a lot of theories and there's a lot of links to other things and it just gets wilder. So we've found we've identified the body we've identified how she died, but let's talk about the name, the Black Dahlia for a second, the Black Dahlia the name is widely disputed we. Have no real idea work came from, but it's part of what makes this case so iconic, you think about the Black Dahlia like it like this is real. This is going to be sexy is GONNA be murderous. This is going to be kind of a throwback. What does this mean? So according to newspaper Short received the nickname Black Dahlia from staff and patrons at the Long Beach Drugstore in mid nineteen forty-six as a word play on the film, the Blue Dahlia which I've never seen came out in nineteen forty-six. It's a Raymond Chandler, it's actually I original screenplay with Veronica Lake and Alan Ladd it's. Hard boiled detective crime, Film. Some say the media crafted the name because of short pudding values in her hair when she'd get ready for a night out according to the F. B., I. official website she received the first part of the nickname from the press for her rumored penchant for sheer black close however, and this is probably the most likely thing was the media the newspaper reporters finding a fun sexy mysterious name for this case Herald Express reporter Bevo means great name by the way interviewed shorts acquaintances at the drug store and had been credited with using or just putting together the name, the Black Dahlia, and the Black Dahlia murder. The reporters Underwood and Jack Smith have been named the creators we don't know again if she was called the black doll yen when she was alive. Dahlia. Whatever prior to the circulation of the Black Dahlia named shorts killing had been dubbed the Werewolf murder by the Herald Express because it was so violent and brutal the Werewolf murder doesn't have the same ring is the Black Dahlia murder. So and also pretty generic for what it is. January twenty first nineteen forty seven a person claiming to be shorts killer placed a phone call to the office of James. Richardson the editor of the Examiner Congratulating Richardson on the newspaper's coverage of the case interesting things to congratulate a media outlet on their covered because. All of these media outlets especially, La ones were just like so savage in their coverage, there's some some of the newspaper headlines are just like you know this is a human being you right you. Okay. Okay. Cool. But how much has really changed since then I mean, we have things like. TMZ and other. I mean, it was just trying to make a living I get that care. But the like you said, they're human beings and. Deserve more respect than they get some time. Definitely. Definitely. This phone call stated that he planned on eventually turning himself in, but not before allowing police to pursue him further. The caller also told Richardson to expect some souvenirs of best short in the mail move. Can you imagine? Together the Herald Oh yeah. I was GONNA say what's Left I mean I feel like they've you know. When you say, you're going to send something. It's like I don't WanNa know what you have and what is what's happening, what's left to send exactly. But I, believe it. Yeah very true and her cl- I mean like closing effects really is what we're getting to here, which are also really creepy in their own right together. The Herald Express and L. E. P. worked to identify the victim but their symbiotic relationship would shift. So William Randolph hearst we could do a whole episode on him to he was the owner of the Herald Express at the time and was obviously very. Powerful. You know huge media mogul and he had these stable of reporters who discovered leads and valuable evidence in shorts case they were working around the clock on her specifically even he was willing to share this information with the LAPD. But of course, for price, he proposed that the Herald Express would continue investigating clues will be granted exclusives in the LAPD would have access to all the information the reporters uncovered. If you're a journalist you know how fucked up this is the LAPD was not really happy with these terms, but he was desperate for information and because the media was covering this case. So salaciously, and so persistently, a lot of the tips were going to do, which is not how it is. Now there's many avenues we talk about finding tips online or read it. Or whatever. But like back, then it's like stuff like there's not with specifically. But there are photos of I forget what case it is but a newspaper getting all of these packages and all of these letters of tips and things and so they had this power over the LAPD specifically that that they were able to negotiate getting exclusives on the Black Dahlia case. Wayne. Sutton. A Herald Express rewrite was assigned to locate Elizabeth Short's mother phoebe short in Medford Massachusetts to tell her that her daughter had passed away. He found her but then It he needed to get more information. So instead of just telling her her daughter had died. Because he thought that if she was really shaken up, he wouldn't get information. She. Was told that her daughter won a beauty contest in Los Angeles phoebe short loves to talk about her beautiful daughter an was accomplished and how great she was. So she was feeding Information Sutton. A journalist reporting under these shady means, and then once he received the information he. Just told her that she died, which is such a cruel cruel thing to do. But even then phoebe short didn't believe him the LAPD had to contact local Medford police and send a couple of cops to the shore residents to tell her in person before she would accept that her daughter had. We can kind of understand that when the first showing up saying Oh your daughter won a beauty contest PS. Didn't she the opposite of that I, probably would be. Also. You don't WanNa believe something like that's true. So I'm those things it's it's understandable. Yeah. It's just a really cruel duplicitous thing to do which again they the savagery around journalists to get tips on this and you're right. It feels very reflective of our current times. Unfortunately, the Herald Express was soon swamped with anonymous reports tips, some of which actually proved to be useful on January twenty four. The suspicious Manila envelope was discovered by US Postal Service worker the envelope had been addressed to the La Examiner and other less angels papers with individual words that have been cut and pasted from a newspaper clipping. Additionally large message on the face of the envelope read. Here's Dahlia's belongings letter to follow the envelope contained shorts, birth certificate, business cards, photographs, names written on pieces of paper and an address book with Mark Hansen in on the cover, the packet had been carefully cleaned with gasoline similar shorts body, which led police to suspect the packet had been sent directly by her killer despite the efforts to clean it several partial fingerprints were lifted from the. Envelope and sent to the FBI for testing. But they were compromised again in transit and could not be analyzed another technological snafu. The same day the packet was received by the examiner handbag and black suede shoes reported to concede on top of a garbage cannon alley a short distance from Norton Avenue two miles from where her body was discovered. The items were covered by the police, but they had all been wiped clean with gasoline destroying any fingerprints. On March fourteenth and apparent suicide note scrawled in Pencil on a bit of paper was found tucked into a shoe in a pile of men's clothing by the oceans edge at the foot of breeze, avenue in Venice the note read to May Concern I've waited for the police to capture me for the Black Dahlia killing but have not I am too much of a coward to turn myself in. So this. Is the best way out for me. I couldn't help myself for that or this Sari Mary the pile of clothing was first seen by beach caretaker who reported the discovery of John Dillon who was a lifeguard captain on Beach Dylan immediately notified the West La police station. The clothes included a coat and trousers of blue herringbone tweed, brandon, white t shirt white jockey shorts, Tan socks, and attend moccasins leisure shoe. Size about eight, the clothes gave no clue to the identity of the owner. Police quickly deemed and the owner of the address book found in the packet. A suspect Hanson? Was a wealthy local nightclub in theater owner and an acquaintance of short and cheap had been like mutual friends them. He that the person shoe discovered in the alley organ fact shorts and taught shorts. Friend Roommate told investigators that Short had recently rejected sexual advances from Hanson and suggested it as a potential cause for him to kill her however. He was cleared of suspicion in the case in addition to Hansen the Los, Angeles Police Department interviewed over one hundred and fifty men in the ensuing weeks whom they believed to be potential suspects Manley who had been one of the last people seen short live was also investigated but was cleared of suspicion after passing numerous polygraph examinations. Also, a little bit problematic polygraph is historically not great to hang your hat on in terms of testimony. Anyway Police also interviewed several persons found listed in Hanson's address book including Mark Lewis who had been an acquaintance of shorts. Lewis's alibi was that he was in Portland visiting his father-in-law who was dying of kidney failure and February I the Los Angeles Daily News reported. The case had run into a stonewall with no new leads to pursue the examiner. Of course, continue to run stories on the murder investigation, which was the front page news for thirty five days straight following the discovery of the body. So that will give you an idea of like how sensationalized this case was the Herald Express also looking for answers sought out criminologist. Dr Paul. River who was Kind of an expert, he would also like very pulpy sensationalized, and he kind of fueled headlines for a little bit longer after the so-called wall, he suggested the killer was a sadist who wanted to dominate Elizabeth Short. He also hinted that the killer might have been NECROPHILIAC. He said it must also be remembered that Seitz of this type have a superabundance of curiosity and are liable to spend much time with their victims. After the spark of life has flickered died how poetic doctor? When interviewed lead investigator Captain Jack Donohue told the press that he believes shorts murder had taken place in a remote building or shack of Los Angeles and her body was transported to. Lamar Park based on the cuts and section of shorts corpse the LAPD looked into the possibility that the murderer may have been a surgeon dr or someone with medical knowledge in February of Nineteen forty seven the LAPD served a warrant to the University of Southern California Medical School, which was located near the site where shorts body was discovered requesting a complete list of the program students they agreed because they had to agree and they checked out everyone on the list, but it didn't yield any results by spring of. Nineteen forty seven shorts mortar had become a cold case. No new leads a total of seven hundred, fifty investigators from the LAPD and other departments worked on the case during its only its initial stages along with four hundred sheriff's deputies, and two, hundred, and Fifty California state patrol officers by June one, thousand forty-seven police had processed and eliminated a list of seventy five suspects by December nineteen, Forty Eight, the detectives would considered over one hundred and ninety two suspects in total. This was a huge huge I wouldn't say drain. Depletion of the LA SHERIFFS and police departments resources but. That will show you much time. That this case took up at this point in La History Sergeant. Venus. Brown one of the lead detectives blame the press for compromising the investigation through the reporters probing of details and unverified reporting. True. But you know they didn't do a great job themselves in September nineteen, forty, nine, a grand jury convened discussing. And the LAPD homicide unit based on their failure to solve these cases especially. To, solve numerous murders of women and children mostly in the past several years shorts being one of them in the aftermath of the grand jury investigation was done on shorts past with detectives tracing her movements between Massachusetts. California. And Florida and also interviewed people who knew her in Texas new. Orleans again no useful information like I said so many people were involved in this case and so many people over five hundred even just. Confessed to killing Elizabeth. Short, some of whom weren't even born at the time of her death Sergeant John P Saint John another great name detective who worked on the case until his retirement stated is amazing. I'm going to offer up a relative as the killer two thousand, three Ralph as Del at the original detectives of the case told The Times that he believed he had interviewed Short's killer a man who had been seen in. His Dan Park near the vacant lot where her body was discovered on the morning of January Fifteenth Nineteen Forty seven a neighbor driving by that day stopped dispose of a bag of lawn clippings in the vacant lot when he saw parked sedan allegedly with its right rear door open the driver of the sedan was standing in the lot. The rival apparently startled the owner of the sedan who approached his car and peered in the. Window before returning to the car and driving away the owner of the sedan was followed to a local restaurant where he worked but was ultimately cleared of suspicion but also just such a weird someone came by looked at the body and drove away suspects remaining under discussion by all sorts of authors and criminologist and people who are interested in this case were Sony people anywhere from you know editors to doctors to Orson Welles to. You know what do you go three there so many people. and. So many rumors were circulated she. There's a couple of rumors that I just wanted to spell before we get into suspects. She wasn't burned by cigarette butts while she was alive. There's no proof that she was a sex worker rumor has it that she was able to have sexual intercourse because of a congenital defect that resulted in go navy all. Alternatives Infantile Genitalia, which is also in severed, but her channels were normal based on the coroner's report. She was never pregnant there. No proof that she was a lesbian either this rumor began after Bevo means of the Herald Express was told by the deputy coroner that Short wasn't having sex with men due to her small genitalia. But again, she was having sex with men according to men's reports means took this to mean that Short had sex with women and. Both he and the reports said, Hughes began investigating gay bars in Los Angeles for further information and not surprisingly didn't find anything the two, thousand, seventeen book the Black Dahlia. Red Rose by Pew well focuses on Leslie Dillon a Bellhop who is a former morticians assistant. His associates were Marquette an Jeff Connors and sergeant finished Brown. Local detective again, who had links and who has invested in the case this makes kind of sense you will says that Short was. Murdered because she knew too much about the men's involvement in the scheme for robbing hotels interesting. She also suggests that Short was killed the Astro Motel in Los Angeles where the owners reported finding one of the rooms covered in blood and fecal matter on the morning of shorts body being found the examiner stated in Nineteen forty-nine at L. A. Police Chief William a Worton denied that the flower street motel the Astra Hotel had anything to do with the case. Although the La Heralds claim that it did have something to do with them in two thousand Buzz Williams retired detective with a Long Beach Police Department wrote an article for the BP newspaper The rap sheet on Shorts Maura Williams Father Richard Epstein and his friend Con, Keller with members of the L. A. Gangster squad investigating the case Williams senior believe that Dylan was the killer and that when Dylan returned to his home state of Oklahoma, he was able to avoid. To California because his ex wife Georgia Stevenson was second cousins with the governor, and so he didn't have to again be taken in for questioning or do anything along the lines of the case Keller believe that Hanson was the killer he'd studied at surgical school in Sweden had thrown elaborate parties attended by prominent LAPD officials. Williams article says that Dylan sued the LAPD for three million but that the suit was dropped. Harnish disputes. This claim that Dylan was cleared by the police after an exhaustive investigation, but he was the kind one of the top people they were investigating the time and had a lot of very strong connections with Elizabeth Short and also you know an Lapd cover-up make sense. It's very sexy. I don't know but let's talk about George Hodel George. Hill Hodel junior was born October tenth nineteen o seven Ellie. Native well, educated highly intelligent scoring eighty six on an early Q. Test and he was a musical prodigy he would play Solo Piano Concerts Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. He was this like wonder child he attended South Pasadena High School at age fifteen. He graduated and went to Caltech early but was forced to leave the university after one year due to a sex scandal that he was involved with with the professor's wife he was not the only person apparently fraternizing professor's wife. He had apparently impregnated the woman, but again, this is. Testimony not sure if it's true and wanted to raise their child together but she refused the affair between hotel on the woman had caused the professor and his wife's marriage to Paul part he had to leave Byron Nineteen. Twenty eight hotel was in a common law marriage with a woman named Amelia and had a son by her Dunkin in the nineteen thirties who is legally married to a model from San Francisco as well. Her name was Dorothy Anthony, and she had a daughter named Tamar they had a daughter named Tamar. He graduated from Berkeley premed in June nineteen, thirty two and immediately enrolled in medical school at University of California San Francisco which he got his medical degree in nineteen thirty six. After he was established as a doctor he moved to Los Angeles and kind of became immersed in La High Society in the nineteen forties he loved the dark side of surrealism. He loves surrealist artists. He was friends with man Ray and John. Huston, he loved kind of an interest in insects and sadomasochism and the darker side of art and philosophy. This was a pretty popular thing to be interested in in the Hollywood scene at the time. But along with that, he shared other finances that people at the time had including partying drinking and womanizing hotel second wife he had nine hundred forty and who was John. Houston's ex wife Dorothy Harvey. He called her Torrero because he had an ex wife who was also named Dorothy he purchase the Soden House in Nineteen forty-five and lived in that property from nineteen forty, five until nineteen fifty. This is when they think the murders happen. The structure was built by Lloyd Wright's son of Frank Lloyd Wright and we both been there. It is a historic landmark. It's surreal cavernous. Got these. Rooms I. It's almost like a hotel on the inside of it inside there. Yeah. Catering there I did my one and only catering job was there I was helping a friend who's having a we'd party there and it was very, very fun. It was fun to be inside of it was very strange and just thinking about the Black Dahlia case and in her being murdered in this place really kind of cold it. It's got this kind of. Like a throwback like Southville Michigan. Yeah. As Tekken Yeah exactly and that was a really popular motif is to kind of take these different think about like the Egyptian theatre, for example, like these different cultures and appropriating them and their architecture in a way that it's kind of like you know Polynesian and the idea of Tiki Tiki being appropriated. So any case it's An Amazing House there are so many rooms. They all lead to this one courtyard with looking like this reflection pool in the middle but he lived there he was a polygamous there in the late nineteen forties during the period of deaths of spalding and short he was living with d'oro and their three children including Stephen the son that would later prove his father. In a lot of ways to be the murder of the Black Dahlia, their daughter Tamar lived there and just a revolving door of of people and lovers came to the this house. So there of course is a suggestion that hotel had a relationship with short. He left the United States in nineteen fifty for Hawaii or he married another woman had another four children. They got divorced came back to the states married legally again for the fourth time lived in San Francisco the rest of his life died in nineteen, ninety, nine at ninety one. But he was first suspicion for the Black Dahlia murder and ninety, forty five he was want I'm at shortlist following the death of his Secretary Ruth spalding by drug overdose he was suspected of having murdered her in order to cover up his financial fraud heated fun stuff like billing patients for tests that were never performed and protecting various valuable secrets about abortion services that he provided to high profile people. About this time hotel left briefly for China where he worked with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. All of this came to light in two, thousand and four. So this is stuff that was really buried for a very long time. In late nineteen, forty, nine huddles, teenage daughter, Tamar accused him of incestuous sexual abuse and impregnating her after which she was given a back alley abortion. He was acquitted after a gigantic trial. There have been three witnesses present during who and participated in the sex act to testified at the trial and the third recanted her earlier testimony and refused to come forward. The theory being that hotel had threatened her into silence. The trial had cosgrove Aguire and she made up the entire abuse allegation for attention after the trial though known or suspected sex criminals in the area were being investigated I for the Black Dahlia murder. That's where his name kind of came into play. It also came out in the trial that Tamar had allegedly claim that her father was the Dahlia killer hotels medical degree also arouse suspicion given the nature of the way her body was. and. The blood was let out at least eight witnesses claimed firsthand knowledge of Nineteen forty-six relationship between short and hotel then back from China and living Los Angeles. The full details of the investigation came to light only in two thousand and three. When George Hotel Black, Dahlia file was discovered in the vault at Los Angeles County District Attorney's office huge news. Amazing. Where was this file? Who knows the file reveal that in nineteen fifty hotel was the prime suspect of the Dahlia murder his private Hollywood residents was electronically bugged by. An eighteen men DA LAPD task force during the period February fifteenth to March. Twenty seventh nineteen fifty the transcripts of conversations revealed hotels references to performing illegal abortions, giving payoffs to law enforcement officials, and his possible involvement in the deaths of his secretary and short the DA tapes recorded him saying supposed I, did kill the Black Dahlia they can't prove it now they can't talk to my secretary anymore because she's dead they thought there was something fishy anyway now, they may have figured it out killed her maybe I did call my secretary. Okay pretty damning quote hotel was also interviewed by a suspect in the nearby June nineteen, forty, nine murder of Louis Springer. The green twig murder though evidence to support that was not available until July twenty eighteen after hotel died in nineteen, ninety, nine, his son Steve Hotel a former LAPD homicide detective wanted to learn more about his father innocently enough to whom he was very much estranged from in that process he uncovered all of this stuff, the file, the LAPD files, what his dad did essentially like his practices, his relationships, I can't imagine what that would be like it sounds very traumatic but all of that led him to believe that his father was in fact. Elizabeth Short's killer his investigation began with the discovery of a photo album owned by hotel, which contained portrait of a dark haired young woman. Who Steve Odell believed was short during his investigation. He learned his father may have been responsible for more than one murder y'all suspected his father being the Chicago lipstick killer of late nineteen forties perhaps also the Manila Jigsaw murderer of nineteen, sixty seven and even the San Francisco Zodiac killer of late nineteen sixties, which again we know is not true but that's that's a lot. It's a lot to find out about your father short is interred at the mountain view cemetery and after he. Had grown up and married their mother phoebe moved to Oakland to be near her daughter's grave. She finally returned to the East Coast nine hundred seventy s where she lived into her nineties on February second nineteen, forty seven, just two weeks after Short's murderer republican state assemblyman see Dan Feld was prompted by the case to introduce a bill called the formation of a sex offender registry. The State of California would become the first US state to make the registration of sex offenders mandatory. So of this so much heart heartbreak heartache sensationalism can corruption led to something good and that's kind of what they wanted to to end on to give this really fascinating and horrifying case a little bit of. positivity I would say and you put you put you put your money on it being Georgia Adel as the Yeah I. Think. So I mean the the reality is there's a lot of possibility of who could have been. She had a lot of male friends she was around a lot of people who did a lot of things but not all of them could have pulled this off as far as getting away with it and The way. I mean you know what happened to her physically I don't think any run of the mill criminal or murderer could do that at least alone no. Yeah, and it would have to be. I. Think I think it's hotel. There's some other morticians assistant a nurse Doctor I. think There was always theories there were more than one person which I I don't have a ton of of but who who knows yet, you need the skillset to have accomplished what they did with the Bible but that doesn't mean it was definitely means you need intelligence. You need medical understanding of medicine and surgery, and maybe having a proclivity toward the darker side of things doesn't Herp you need the means new do all that and be the kind of person to do that? Yeah. So I think they need and I it sounds like I mean according to his son his son pretty much thinks it's yeah. Yes. Police officer former police officers odd. Yeah. He I mean the son had a lot more to work with the other people too. So that again it makes his theory and and his case much more compelling to so yeah, I think I believe it to be him but there are again that's part of the case. There's so many possibilities even given what you would need to be to be the killer be would you say that if the general consensus is it's if you had to pick someone neutral dow. Likely for sure not to spoil anything because again, these books really the only book that says that it's him is his sons book. The other books have these different theories and a lot of them explore a lot of different theories and some weaker than others. These are the really the prominent ones. Especially being linked to other serial killers and being involved in a series of murders or something like that. It's hard to say, I can pretty confidently say whoever murdered the Black Dahlia probably murdered other people. The amount of precision. Again, the idea of clean the fingerprints off the just the aside from the medical expertise intelligence in. High. Society. I this is not your first Rodeo kind of thing. You wouldn't do go through this much and be like well, I'm good. Yeah I've kind of. Done yeah and also the arrogance thinking no, one would miss this person this young woman you know kind of lived data day, which is is very sad but it's it's all of these things beauty glamour. House slickness poverty you know this this beautiful woman with decaying teeth. You know that is kind of an apt metaphor for for la and for this case, some things I saw that that the idea that she was here to be an actress. Say That not necessarily true. Yeah. Necessarily jokes know one of the video took was at John Marshall High School. And took some modeling photos there the video and my book Jason Horton. We'll talk about anything for a dollar. Yeah. That book it's Yeah. But there's Meyer that those are some of the last known photos of possibly her alive. Yeah. So that was kind of interesting because I think the idea being like. You feel like peg entwistle who jumped off the Hollywood sign type totally old Hollywood lineker goal wasn't like it's acting or nothing and you know she. Ultimately died for her love of. Being famous or something like that button when you move to Los Angeles that's not you don't come here to be like I. I really I really love accounts receivable I gotta get to. Unless you are into account. And that's totally fine. I'm sorry Yeah. Please don't unsubscribe please. No No. Exactly and and people moving here just to be close to this to the you know what's happening in La especially in this time very glamorous I can't. I don't think she. No, she wasn't like shouldn't enroll in acton cloudy and she wasn't a serious actor but she loved the the idea of being around people. She loved the of like. All. These these kind of amorphous dreams of what it means to make a life in La and and those are really far away from the reality of it which she realized unfortunately. But a really fascinating case really iconic. I would say it's one of the most famous unsolved cases in the United States for sure and is is you know here here in our home of Los Angeles, love it or leave it, leave it now no, love it. Okay.